The South African Police Service organisational culture : the impact on service delivery

Gqada, Dumisani (2004-12)

Thesis (MPA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research study explores the impact of organisational culture with specific reference to the South African Police Service (SAPS) culture on service delivery. The two interrelated concepts "organisational culture and service delivery are discussed broadly in terms of their challenges for the contemporary policing function which put emphasis on the provision of police service and accounatbility to the broader community. The premise of the study is based on literature research evidence that organisational culture is an important factor to influence employee behaviour towards organisational effectiveness and also determine how they respond to its external environment. At the same time a strong organisational culture can be rigid and become a hindrance to change. Service delivery is a critical challenge to the government's ongoing efforts to ensure that its delivery process is efficient and responsive, particularly to the needs of the previously disadvantaged communities. In recent years, this challenge reinforced the government to embark on broad transformation mechanisms in order to position public institutions in an environment where service delivery meets the public needs and expectations. Some of these mechanisms include the promulgation of legislation, regulations and a series of policy frameworks notably, The White Paper on Reconstruction and Development (ROP), 1994, The White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service of 1995, Public Service Regulation of 1999 etc. However, the provision of efficient service delivery in public institutions is usually constrained by various factors such as lack of capacity and shortage of competency skills, financial and technological resources as opposed to the private sector which normally have these resources in abundance. Since lack of sufficient financial resources will always be a challenge for public service delivery enhancement, this study suggests that public institutions can incorporate some private sector strategies in order to be innovative and improve efficiency. Apart from a lack of the above mentioned resources as contributing factor to inefficient service delivery, available theory on organisational culture state that it is an all encompassing factor that influences employee behaviour in public institutions. Chapter 3 provides a theoretical framework on the concept of organisational culture, its formation, and its sources, how it is sustained in the organisation. Various models and examples of organisational culture as found in small and big organisations such as those associated with government agencies are analysed and distinguish in terms of why the size of the organisation can determine its prevailing culture. Small organisations with flat structures are considered to be flexible, autonomous, innovative and responsive to customer needs. On the other hand the traditional bureaucratic organisations such as government agencies like police organisations tend to be characterised by highly formal hierarchical structure with too many layers, operational rules and regulations which are intended to enforce control measures. However, type of structures are criticised for rigid systems, autocratic, and slow. Models for changing organisational culture in order to increase its effectiveness are suggested. After a theoretical discussion on both the concepts organisational culture and service delivery, the SAPS was used as a case study to establish the applicability and the extent to which organisational culture impact on service delivery. The first stage consist of analytical perspective of the SAPS historical military culture since its inception in 1913 and giving critical accounts of its operational phases that it had undergone until the new dispensation. Since the early 1990s until after April 1994 elections, marked a new era in the SAPS which embarked on broad transformation initiatives in order to change policing function from that of a narrow law and order maintenance to a fully integrated community policing which makes police officers to be accountable to the broader community by rendering police service and problem solving within a human rights culture. However, police culture has been widely criticised as a source of resistance to change and reform, and is often misunderstood. The prevailing police culture which was inherited from the previous paramilitary legacy such as the autocratic leadership style, traditional bureaucratic structure, corruption, secrecy, mistrust are some of the dominant indicators which are identifiable and commonalities among the different police agencies. These dominant features cause any resistance to any change initiative and are perceived with negative image. After contextualising the description of the SAPS, the study describes the methods and procedures used to conduct an empirical research project in the form of a pilot study conducted in two police stations in Cape Town. Data collection methods include the following: 1) literature review, 2) open-ended one-an-one interviews with the station commissioners from the selected stations, 3) distributing survey questionnaires which consist of close ended questionnaires to junior officers at police stations to determine their attitudes towards the organisations they work in, and 4) by means of observation. Theoretical evidence proves that police culture which is characterised by paramilitary, bureaucracy, rigid systems and procedures, inflexible structure still prevail in the SAPS and contributes significantly to lack of coordination, slow response and results inefficient service delivery. It is concluded that police stations are the primary centres where the public gets first hand experience when reporting their cases or need the help of police officers to solve problems in the community. In order to provide efficient police service, units which provide interrelated functions need to be fully integrated under one unit commander in order to improve coordination and prompt response. Policing crime is still the primary function of the police and police officers need to be fully equipped with competency skills and other capacity building programs that are consistent with the contemporary policing function.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsingstudie stelondersoek in na die impak van organisasiekultuur met spesifieke verwysing na die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens (SAPD) se kultuur op dienslewering. Die twee verwante konsepte "organisasiekultuur"en "dienslewering"word breedvoerig bespreek teen die agtergrond van die agtergrond van die uitdagings wat dit stel vir die hedendaagse polisieringsfunsie wat dit beklemtoon dat die polisie 'n diens moet lewer en aanspeeklik moet wees teenoor die breer gemeenskap. Die studie se aanname is gebasseer op literatuurnavorsing wat toon dat organisasiekultuur 'n faktor is wat werknemersgedrag beinvloed ten opsigte van organisasie-effektiwiteit asook hoe werknemers reageer teenoor die eksterne omgewing. 'n Sterk organisasiekultuur word beskou as 'n bindende faktor tussen werkers en die organisasie en dit skep kosekwentheid en rigting. 'n Sterk organisisasiekultuur kan terselfdetyd rigied wees en 'n struikelblok word in die weg van voorgestelde verandering aangesien verandering beskou kan word as inmenging in die normale gang van die organisasie. Hierteenoor het 'n meer buigsame kultuur die voordeel van aanpasbaarheid ten opsigte van verandering. Dienslewering is 'n volgehoue uitdaging vir die regering se se volgehoue pogings om te verseker dat sy leweringsproses effektief is en die behoeftes van spesifiek die voorheen benadeelde groepe aanspreek. Hierdie uitdaging het die regering genoop om transformasie-meganismes daar te stel ten einde openbare instellings in staat te stelom leweringsagente te word wat die behoeftes en uitkomste-verwagtinge van almal aanspreek. Van die meganismes sluit in die promulgering van wetgewing en beleid soos die Heropbou-en Ontwikkelingsprogram (HOP) Witskrif, 1994, die Transformasie van Openbare Dienste Witskrif, 1995, die Openbare Diens Reguleringswet van 1999 ensomeer. Die lewering van effektiewe dienste word gewoonlik beperk deur deur veskeie faktore soos 'n gebrek aan kapasiteit en vaardighede, asook finasiele en tegnologiese hulpbronne wat normaalweg tot die beskiking van die private sektor is. Gegewe dat 'n tekort aan finansiele hulpbronne altyd 'n uitdaging vir effektiewe openbare sektor dienslewering sal wees, stel hierdie studie voor dat openbare instellings sekere privaatsektor strategiee kan inkorporeer ten einde innovasie en effektiwiteit te verbeter. Behalwe bogenoemde beperkende faktore, stel beskikbare organisasiekultuur-teorie dit dat dit ook organisasiekultuur is wat openbare sektor amptenare se gedrag is wat die kwaliteit en vlak van dienslewering beinvloed. Hoofstuk drie bied 'n teoretiese raamwerk vir die konsep organisasiekultuur ten opsigte van hoe dit geskep en in stand gehou word binne organisasies. Verskeie modelle en voorbeelde van organisasiekultuur binne klein sowel as groor organissaies word ontleed en daar word gekyk na hoe die grootte van 'n organisasie organisasiekultuur beinvloed. Klein organisasies met 'n plat struktuur word beskou as buigsaam, outonoom, innoverend en daartoe in staat om die vebruiker se behoeftes aan te spreek. Daarteenoor word tradisionele burokratiese organisasies soos polisie-organisasies gekenmerk deur formele strukture met te veel vlakke, operasionele reels en regulasies ten einde volle beheer te he oor prosedures. Die rigiede stelsels, outokrasie, en stadiege leweringsproses van sulke strukture word dikwels gekritiseer. Modelle om organisasiekultuur te verander ten einde effektiwiteit te verbeter word voorgestel. Die teoretiese bespeking van die konsepte organisasiekultuur en dienslewering word gevolg deur 'n gevallestudie van die SAPD ten einde te bepaal die mate waartoe organisasiekultuur impakteer op dienslewering. Die eerste fase behels 'n analitiese perspektief van die SAPD se historiese militere kultuur sedert 1913 asook' n kritiese blik op operasionele fases waardeur die SAPD gegaan het tot en met die nuwe dispensasie. Die vroee 1990s tot net na die April 1994 verkiesing verteenwoordig' n nuwe era in die SAPD ten opsigte van transformasie inisiatiewe wat daarop gerig was om die polisieringsfunksie te verander van 'n agent wat eng gefokus was op die handhawing van wet en orde na 'n geintegreerde polisiediens wat aanspeeklik is teenoor die bree gemeenskap. Dit behels die lewering van 'n polisiediens sowel as probleem-oplossing binne die konteks van 'n menseregte-kultuur. Polisiekultuur word, as gevolg van misverstande, dikwels beskou as 'n bron weerstand teen verandering. Die heersende organisasiekultuur - wat 'n nalatenskap is van die vorige paramilitere styl byvoorbeeld outokratiese leierskapstyl, tradisionele burokratiese strukture, korrupsie, geheimhouding, wantroue - is van die dominante indikatore wat gemeenskaplike eienskappe is van die verskeie polisie-agentskappe. Hierdie dominante kenmerke veroorsaak weerstand teen enige veranderingsinisiatief en word as negatief beskou. Die beskrywing van die SAPD word gevolg deur' n uiteensetting van metodes en prosedures wat gebruik was tydens die empiriese navorsing wat gedoen was by twee polisiestasies in Kaapstad. Data insamelingsmetodes sluit in: 1) lieratuurnavorsing, 2) ope een-tot-een onderhoude met die stasiekomisarisse van die twee stasies, 3) die verspreiding van geslote vraelyste aan junior offisiere by polisiestasies ten einde hul houding te bepaal teenoor die organisaies waar hulle werk, en 4) observasies. Teoretiese bewyse toon dat die polisiekultuur wat normaalweg gekenmerk word deur paramilitere, buroktariese, rigiede stelsels en prosedures steeds bestaan binne die SAPD en dat dit bydra tot swak koordinasie, swak response en oneffektiewe dienslewering. Ten slotte word gemeld dat polisiedienssentra plekke is waar die publiek eerstehands kennis maak met dienslewering. Ten einde 'n effektiewe diens te lewer, behoort eenhede wat verwante diense lewer geintegreer te word onder die bevel van een bevelvoerder. Misdaadvoorkoming is steeds die primere funksie van die SAPD en beamptes moet toegerus word met die nodige bevoegdhede, vaardighede asook kapasiteitsbouprogramme wat in lyn is met die kontemporere polisieringsfunksie.

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